Government is committed to provide quality education to tertiary students, including students with disabilities. To help make this goal a reality, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has received a boost of R150 million.
The Department of Higher Education and Training, through the National Skills Fund (NSF) has set aside R22,9 million to fund 820 first-year students. Of this amount, R7 million will go towards a special bursary scheme for rural students who have done exceptionally well in the 2010 matric exams.
Government has also made it a priority to promote access to tertiary education for people with disabilities. To this end, the department has set aside R21 million for 300 first-year students with disabilities. Some of the money will also be used to fund students who are already studying scarce skills.
In addition, the NSF will allocate R100 million towards Career Wise
bursaries. These will be granted in the following categories:
- R21,6 million to fund 258 first-year student bursaries,
- R4 million for the Dipaleseng Special Bursary Scheme
- R11,5 million to support 245 first-year students who are studying Chartered Accounting at the University of Fort Hare.
Hard working students from disadvantaged families, will this year be exempted from paying academic fees. This will assist under-privileged learners to get access to Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, which, in turn, will help meet the country's need for technical skills.
Bursaries will be allocated to students whose parents earn a combined salary of R122 000 per year or less. The bursary will cover tuition fees, accommodation, meals and transport costs.
However, learners who receive these bursaries must keep in mind that the department will monitor students' progress. They will be expected to work hard and produce good results. Those who continue to fail and produce poor results, will lose their bursaries.
Government also plans to address the shortage of career guidance in schools. It aims to ensure that career-related information will be available in rural schools and that all learners will have access to such information.
To assist the department, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)has joined forces with the SABC to provide learners with
information on career guidance. The career information will be broadcast on all Nguni radio stations to reach a wider audience.
Bursaries to boost science and technology skills
As a part of providing Science and Technology skills to historically disadvantaged learners, more than 100 learners from the Adams College in KwaZulu-Natal received bursaries. The bursaries were awarded by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in co-operation with the Moses Kotane Institute of Science and Technology.
Students who received bursaries will be studying for careers involving Mathematics and Science this year.
Apart from the bursaries, the department also donated two fully furnished classrooms. This is in accordance with one of government's identified key priorities, to provide quality education to all learners.